The New Zealand forest industry is being warned to keep a watch on the Chinese-Russian log trade, with a potential supply crunch looming.
An international forestry consultant, Gerry Van Leeuwen, told the Forest Wood conference in Wellington, via video conference on Tuesday, Russia is the biggest supplier of logs to China, but its exports are declining.
He says a 25% log export tax imposed by the Russian Government in 2008 is hampering the trade.
Mr Van Leeuwen says New Zealand radiata pine logs have a very good fit in China because they are up to $US35 a cubic metre cheaper than other wood imports from Russia and North America that are used as interior finishings.
He says it is important that the inferior New Zealand logs stay affordable.
Mr Van Leeuwen says China's demand for wood is predicted to increase from 250 million cubic metres this year, to 350 million by 2015.